To everyone who has ever griped about music locked up in copy-protection software, it appears that the technology is on its way out.
Sony BMG Music Entertainment, one of the top four music labels, is preparing to offer part of its catalogue without Digital Rights Management software, according to a story in BusinessWeek.com, the online publication of BusinessWeek magazine.
According to BusinessWeek, Sony BMG plans to reveal its plans sometime in the first quarter. Citing an unnamed source, the magazine reported that Sony BMG, a joint venture between Sony and Bertelsmann, will participate in a song giveaway as part of a promotion for the Super Bowl on Feb. 3. The DRM-free music will be distributed via Amazon's download service.
Representatives from Sony BMG and Amazon declined to comment.
The move by Sony BMG is significant because it means that all four of the largest record companies are at moving towards digital music unencumbered by copy-protection schemes.
DRM was supposed to safeguard music but has done little to prevent widespread file sharing. But too often only the people who purchased songs legally were affected by DRM.
People who bought music at legitimate online music stores, such as Apple's iTunes, couldn't listen to their music on just any device. There was often confusion about which songs played on which devices.
Last year, Apple CEO Steve Jobs called on the music industry to do away with DRM.
Many of the top music-subscription services, such as Yahoo Music and RealNetworks' Rhapsody service continue to use copy-protection software.